Beginner's Pluck: Ciaran McMenamin

Always good at creative writing, Ciaran parted company with school before taking his A levels. After a while he left Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh for Glasgow to attend drama school. Then, moving to London, he began to act, and has been doing so ever since.

Beginner's Pluck: Ciaran McMenamin

Notably, he had the title role in BBC’s film of David Copperfield, and he co-starred in ITV’s The Golden Hour.

“I turned to writing partly through a need to take control,” he says. “And to create my own world. As an actor you are trapped in a world of other people’s decisions. When I was young I could roll with it.

“I still act, and will appear in Paula, a three part cop drama for the BBC in the next few months.”

Who is Ciaran McMenamin?

Date of birth: 1975 in Enniskillen.

Education: St Michael’s Enniskillen. Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

Home: Moving from London to Hastings soon.

Family: He will marry actress Annabel Scholey in May. “And my Mum, Anne, deserves a big thank you for giving me confidence and the inspiration to go for the arts.” The Day Job: Fulltime writer, In Another Life: “I’d have been a war correspondent.” Favourite Writers: William Boyd; Robert Harris; Phillip Kerr.

Second Novel: “It takes place in 1916 and 1921, and is about two men at the end of the war. It’s based, loosely, on my grandfather.”

Top Tip: Believe in what you write, and defeat the inner doubt. Read The Artist’s Way.

Twitter: @CiaranMcMenamin

The Debut: Skintown. Doubleday Ireland: €15.31 Kindle: €10.59

When Vincent Duffy is thrown out of school, his prospects seem dire. Working in a takeaway, his life revolves around the pub and raves. Then, caught in a car with Provos, he gets them out of a scrape, and in return, is offered a business opportunity. But when the IRA ceasefire creates havoc, caught in a riot, will Vincent stay out of trouble?

“I hope the book gives people hope, and that it makes people look at Northern Ireland in a different way. And I hope it reminds politicians how much better things are now than they were.”

The Verdict: Fizzing with energy, clarifying the reality of the North, this debut is as poignant as it’s funny.

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